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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King addresses World Economic Forum
Davos, 25 January 2013

His Majesty King Abdullah on Friday addressed the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, expressing satisfaction at this week’s landmark parliamentary elections, which saw a record number of candidates - including record numbers of women candidates – and a high turn-out of 56.6 per cent.

“These elections reflect a simple recognition: Every citizen must be empowered as a stakeholder if our nation is to achieve its full potential,” King Abdullah told world leaders at the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos.

“We in Jordan, seek a level, broad reform path, based on the rule of law. Comprehensive, consensus-based change aims at strengthening representation, enhancing the separation of powers, and protecting civil rights and freedoms, especially for women and minorities.”

His Majesty said consultations with parliament will start in the next few days for the designation of the new prime minister. “Citizens responsibility did not end on Wednesday, when ballots were cast. Their continuous engagement is essential: to hold parliament and government accountable ... to expand Jordan's political-party culture ... and to keep political and economic reform real,” he added.

The King highlighted Jordan’s economic strengths, a central position in the region, with access to over one billion consumers worldwide, a diverse and innovative work force, strengthened safeguards against corruption and investment friendly policies and legislation.

Economic progress, brought about by sound management and reforms, has been sizeable over the past decade, His Majesty said, but recent mounting challenges required even harder work. “The global economic crisis has hit us all. In Jordan, our young people - the vast majority of the population - suffer unacceptable levels of unemployment. We have lost markets due to the crisis in Syria; and the energy crisis cost our treasury heavily. But Jordan's challenges have only made us more determined and we are making the tough decisions for a safe and prosperous future,” he said.

On the Syrian crisis, the King said that Jordan is hosting almost 300,000 Syrian refugees and launched a strong appeal to the international community to step up assistance efforts.

“The international community must also come together now, decisively, to end the bloodshed. What is needed is a real and inclusive transition plan ... one that guarantees the country's unity and territorial integrity ... by giving all, all Syrians a stake in the country's future. Anything else invites fragmentation, extremist power-grabs, and more conflict and instability ... with a disastrous impact on the region and world.”

His Majesty said that long-term security in the region demands an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, adding that the Arab Peace Initiative provides a path: “A two-state settlement giving both sides what they need and want, with an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestine, and a secure Israel ... enjoying peace with all its neighbours, and normal relations with all Arab states.”

The King concluded his address by inviting world leaders to the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa to be held in Jordan in May.